In Burma there isn’t a medically precise word for vagina, they use another word meaning “woman’s organ”.
The good news is that as part of The Vagina Monologues 20th anniversary, vaginas are finally coming to Burma. Women’s hour discusses.
Audiences in Myanmar talked of their surprise upon watching the show (which has recently been translated into Burmese) and of how “free” the monologues made them feel.
“People should talk about these things more”, one women said, “I wish teachers could talk about these things with us earlier…the play made me realise that vaginas are not embarrassing, they are something natural” (read more responses online).
Nandar Gyawalli is one of the women responsible for organising the performance of The Vagina Monologues. Although she says they were expecting negative criticism they have received incredibly positive feedback.
Nandar Gyawalli works as a translator and is also responsible for translating Ngozi Adichie’s ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ into Burmese. In her interview with Women’s Hour she talked of wanting to translate more feminist texts. Currently she is working on Dear Ijeawele, a feminist manifesto by Adichie, written in response to a friend who asked the author for advice on how to raise her daughter as a feminist; Ngozi came up with 15 suggestions.
The Vagina Monologues was written in 1994 by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler. On Valentine’s Day 1998 Ensler broadened it to a global campaign called V-Day. Each February, to encourage women around the world to perform the work, Ensler suspends the play’s copyright. This year she extended that status through March to allow women in Myanmar to perform the piece. To learn more about the Vagina Monologues and to listen to Ensler talk about the play in more depth visit BBC Radio 4’s Frontrow.